Who We Are

Bench Marks Foundation was founded by the Churches in 2001 to monitor all multinational companies in South Africa and the region, with a regional focus on South African companies’ expansion into Africa. It has done work on South African supermarkets in Africa, on whether they are purely extractive or contribute to host countries economic development. It has a big focus on mining and extractive both in South Africa and in Botswana, Zambia and the DRC, as well as Malawi. This focus has also led to focus on the relationship between banks investment policies and mining and other sectors of the economy.

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Bench Marks Foundation has worked with a number of international NGO’s on human rights due diligence and of the biggest buyers of platinum and international companies supply chain responsibilities encompassing human rights and the environment.  With a focus on South African Companies expanding into the rest of Africa.

Bench Marks Foundation works with an international coalition of faith-based organizations from around the world that developed the Principles for Global Corporate Responsibility-Bench Marks for Measuring Business Performance, that has been hailed as one of four leading instruments that set benchmarks for social responsibility through the lens of corporate social responsibility covering all sectors of the economy

Mission

To be on every company’s agenda and to be a household name

Vision

Bench Marks Foundation is committed to providing leadership and advocacy on bench marking of good corporate governance, ethical and socially responsible investment as well as linking people and institutions committed to these ideals

Values

Pro poor and on the side of those suffering – an option and solidarity for the poor, speaking truth to power, to the promotion, attainment, and restoration of human dignity. A Values driven organization that is highly ethical, accountable and acts with integrity and has an excellent track record both in its work, governance, and financial integrity.

Research - Policy Gap Series

We critically examine CSR through the lens of investment and investment impacts. Is it good or bad? Do the costs outweigh the benefits? Companies, governments and civil society, both locally and globally, recognize us as a key role player and opinion maker regarding CSR and sustainable development.

Voice Power and Media Advocacy

Currently communities are severely disadvantaged when it comes to mining companies. Communities often lack information and access to expert advice, and end up giving their rights away.They also lack recourse to justice when they are aggrieved. Women and children are particularly impacted.

Community Monitoring School

The Bench Marks Foundation has mobilized and trained members from over forty communities in South Africa to monitor corporations and local government. Community Monitors report on their findings using internet, social media, local radio and newsletters.

The Independent Capacity Building Fund (ICF) And The Independent Problem Solving Service

Currently communities are severely disadvantaged when it comes to mining companies. Communities often lack information and access to expert advice, and end up giving their rights away.They also lack recourse to justice when they are aggrieved.

John Capel, Executive Director of the Bench Marks Foundation, has resigned effective from 31 December 2021. He has served the organization with distinction over the last twenty years. the board and staff thank him for his services and wish him well in his future endeavors. the deputy Director Moses Cloete will serve as acting Executive Director in the interim.

Justice is what love looks in public

May 2022 Dear Friends, welcome to our May edition of the Bulletin, featuring the regular sections as we reflect on our work, and burning issues of the weeks since our last bulletin. Our campaigning, as it is revealed throughout this BULLETIN, is to organise and ensure that the communities and others we work with see […]

When the waters subside talk of land and housing

April 2022 Dear Freinds welcome to our April edition, which reaches you on 27 April 2022, designated as Freedom Day in the South African historical calendar. We hope you use the day to rest and reflect on what was won, and lost and what is worth fighting for in our country. This Bulletin features the […]

South Africa – The Most Unequal Country in the world?

#6 Dear Friends , there is so much happening now, and the year has just truly finished its first quarter. This edition will not do justice to all that we and the wider social justice movement are engaged in but we hope will keep you in touch to seek more information, more knowledge. We touch […]

…dislocated from their lands, traditions on false promises

#5 Dear Freind, this second edition of 2022 sees the Foundation trying to consolidate its resources and committing to do more with less, to work smarter. It contains a number of important resources for citizens as it deals with the sanctity and essence of water in our lives and relations between humans, the Right to […]

#AMI2022

In 2021, convening the AMI in the usual fashion was a challenge given the restrictions that came with the Covid-19 pandemic. For the first time in 12 years, the conference was held virtually under the theme, “Building forward together, pivoting the extractives sector for adaptation and resilience against Covid-19”.

The AMI took place at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic had resulted in the deaths of thousands of Africans, and over two million people worldwide, having ravaged communities and pushed millions into further poverty amidst exacerbating levels of socio-economic inequality to unprecedented levels.

The AMI2022 Theme: ‘A just energy transition for sustainable mining communities in a climate crisis era’.

watch Alternative Indaba 2022 Live

COMMUNITY MONITORS PODCAST

In this podcast.We talk about how mining undermines the practices of traditional healers living near mines. This question arises from a story written by community monitor Jan Skosana who lives in Marikana, Rustenburg. We asked Mmabore Mogoshoa a community activist and a traditional healer who lives in a Mining Village in Sekhukhune to give us her views on the issue. We spoke with Gogo Nondumiso, a traditional leader and sangoma who lives and works in the platinum mining community of Rustenburg. We asked her how mining has affected the practices of traditional healers. This issue has been reported several times by monitors and we made this podcast to highlight the vice that rarely gets the platform to voice out the challenges they face inn their calling/practices to access herbs and water that is affected by mining even in communities they form part of. We hope this will be given the attention it deserves by all relevant stakeholders.

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Mind Your Tailings - a conversation between Hassen Lorgat (Bench Marks Foundation) with Jan Morrill, (Earthworks)

An interview – conversation between Hassen Lorgat (Bench Marks Foundation) with Jan Morrill,Tailings Manager, Earthworks.org follows the webinar Mine Waste Leaves Toxic Legacies In South Africa. This event also provided the platform for the international launch on 31 May 2022 of Safety First: Guidelines for Responsible Mine Tailing Management (available at www.earthworks.org/safety-first coordinated and produced by Earthworks, Mining Watch Canada and London Mining Network

The event was organised by the Mine Tailings Working Group of South Africa which is a partnership of civil society groups including the Bench Marks Foundation, Federation for Sustainable Environment (FSE) and  IANRA.

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